Adam Blythe and Dan Lloyd hailed Sepp Kuss’ incredible first victory at the Vuelta a Espana, as the American ended the year in spectacular fashion.
Kuss won his first Grand Tour and topped a podium consisting of his Jumbo-Visma team-mates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic in second and third respectively.
Blythe believes it will take time for the magnitude of the American’s achievement to sink in, after finishing above Tour de France winner Vingegaard and Giro d’Italia victor Roglic.
“He probably won’t realise what he’s done until a week down the road,” Blythe said on The Breakaway. “I think he said it is life changing and I can’t comprehend what it will be like for him, and only he will know what it’s going to be like.
“I can just imagine that his life will turn upside down. He’ll be on cloud nine for a long time, and there will be team-mates that he won’t see all the way until next year’s training camp.
“He won’t see them at all, and when he gets to that training camp, he’ll be reliving all these moments. It will just be a little halo above his head, and he’ll feel like a little angel.”
The American’s unexpected victory has seen questions raised about whether Kuss could become a leader or co-leader going into the next Grand Tour, but Lloyd is unconvinced as to whether that will materialise.
“My instinct is that he won’t be asking to go into any Grand Tour next year as sole leader,” Lloyd said. “I think even before it looked like he might win this race, he was asked if he would want to lead a Grand Tour.
“He said he might consider it if there was another leader, whether that’s a sprinter or another GC rider, but he didn’t want that responsibility himself.
“Whether that’s changed in his mind since he won a Grand Tour, I don’t know, but my hunch is he would be happy to go back to being a domestique, or at least go into something like a Giro d’Italia as co-leader to see what he could do there.
“I certainly don’t think he’ll be going into next year’s Tour de France expecting to or asking to go into it as co-team leader with Jonas Vingegaard.”
However, Blythe believes this win will make Jumbo-Visma’s rivals stand up and take notice, and says the 29-year-old is going to be a marked man heading into next year.
Blythe said: “There will be a lot of eyes on him next year, in case those big breakaways happen again, they’ll be thinking ‘oh no Sepp’s gone into the breakaway’.
“I think it’ll be more of a worry; if he was the rider he is now in the start of that tour, they’d have said, ‘there is no way we can let Sepp go up the road, no way.’
“That’ll carry on, we know what he can do now. We’ve known for a long time, but if he gets that bIg break again, he’ll be watched a lot more closely now.”
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